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Subject: Need feedback on an RPG idea rss

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Mike Strickland
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I'm creating a sci-fi RPG game that will also feature starship miniatures. I'd like to get some initial feedback of the concept, while the game is still in the development stage. Your feedback is ultimately going to shape this game. The concept I'd like to get your feedback on is this:

There will 8 unique alien characters which will be represented on cards, each will have different characteristics and abilities. There will also be 8 unique starship miniatures. Each alien character will be assigned to a specific starship, which also has unique capabilities such as special weapons, energy, etc. Hypothetically, the alien races will "connect" to their starships via some kind of interface, and play out their predisposed characteristics and abilities through the starship. So for example, if a particular alien race has an advantage to create a weapon, they might be more inclined to do so, as their assigned starship might have the power to fire that weapon, where other starships may not. I am hoping this would bring out an unpredictable RPG element to the game.

So to sum this up, each alien race will be more inclined to do certain things based on their abilities, and their assigned starships will capitalize on their abilities. They will interface with the their starship, and play out their roles. Of course, players will not just play a predetermined role of that character, rather, they will feel more inclined to do so based on advantages/disadvantages.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you like the idea of having alien races represented on cards, interfacing with their starship miniature to play out a role? The reason I'm not making miniatures out of the alien races is because they will be doing things in space, it wouldn't make sense to have beings traveling through space without some kind of ship. And I don't want to just have starships, I want a real RPG element in the game based on characters. Starhips don't think, whereas lifeforms do, so it will make things more unpredictable I hope.



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John "Omega" Williams
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Welcome to the BGG.

Well is it an actual RPG or is it a space explorer? It does not sound like an RPG at all.

As for the alien influencing the ships actions. Sounds interesting. Essentially the alien is the ships AI factor. Though sounds a bit limited of there is only one alien per ship type. Perhaps you need more variety of pilot types per race?

In Starfield I went a bit simpler with each race having a set reaction and goal set. But optional rules a random set of goals and reactions rolled upon being first encountered.
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Mike Strickland
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Omega2064 wrote:
Welcome to the BGG.

Well is it an actual RPG or is it a space explorer? It does not sound like an RPG at all.

As for the alien influencing the ships actions. Sounds interesting. Essentially the alien is the ships AI factor. Though sounds a bit limited of there is only one alien per ship type. Perhaps you need more variety of pilot types per race?

In Starfield I went a bit simpler with each race having a set reaction and goal set. But optional rules a random set of goals and reactions rolled upon being first encountered.


It is essentially both. The reason I'm saying it's an RPG, is because there will be characters with unique abilities, strengths, disadvantages, etc. Players will take on the role of these characters by utilizing their unique abilities, ultimately shaping the story of the game. Every game will play out differently. Certain tasks will be more rewarding or less rewarding for certain characters, so they will be more inclined to take certain actions in the game.

The alien is the ships AI factor as you said. I like the idea of having a variety of pilot types per alien race. That would certainly add more complexity to the scenarios that could play out.



 
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Chris Hawkins
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For an RPG, I would figure that having all player characters on one ship would allow for more social interaction. If your game is all about tactical battles, then multiple ships are fine. But you miss the chance for the Zebulon marine's rotten egg smell to overwhelm the 12 noses of the Farukli engineer.
 
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Mike Strickland
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Belthus wrote:
For an RPG, I would figure that having all player characters on one ship would allow for more social interaction. If your game is all about tactical battles, then multiple ships are fine. But you miss the chance for the Zebulon marine's rotten egg smell to overwhelm the 12 noses of the Farukli engineer.


Good point, but there will be tactical battles in the game as well. Parts of it will be cooperative, yet each player will be ultimately competing as well via a point system. One particular character may accumulate more points by taking actions against another, while a different character might accumulate more points by helping others out. Each character will accumulate points differently.
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John "Omega" Williams
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If its competitive rather than co-op then definitly not an RPG.

Sounds more like what Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel had going with co-op, but each team trying to one up the rest. Or RuinsWorld with the players co-operating but also possibly hindering eachother.

It can be an annoying factor as some players prefer a game to be one or the other. Too much backstabbing and the game fails over and over potentially.
 
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Mike Strickland
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Omega2064 wrote:
If its competitive rather than co-op then definitly not an RPG.

Sounds more like what Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel had going with co-op, but each team trying to one up the rest. Or RuinsWorld with the players co-operating but also possibly hindering eachother.

It can be an annoying factor as some players prefer a game to be one or the other. Too much backstabbing and the game fails over and over potentially.


I guess I'm confused on what is considered RPG. If you look at Robotech, they have different mechs, etc. fighting against each other. While they have squadrons that work together, they are still competing against other squadrons. This is technically the same as my game, except I don't have squadrons, rather just single captains. If I were to add squadrons around each main starship, could I consider it an RPG then?
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Boss Beau Blasterfire
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It sounds like a start with a lot left to go. Keep at it and hopefully you will see your game realized. Best of luck to you.
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Seth Iniguez
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zorin_productions wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
If its competitive rather than co-op then definitly not an RPG.

Sounds more like what Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel had going with co-op, but each team trying to one up the rest. Or RuinsWorld with the players co-operating but also possibly hindering eachother.

It can be an annoying factor as some players prefer a game to be one or the other. Too much backstabbing and the game fails over and over potentially.


I guess I'm confused on what is considered RPG. If you look at Robotech, they have different mechs, etc. fighting against each other. While they have squadrons that work together, they are still competing against other squadrons. This is technically the same as my game, except I don't have squadrons, rather just single captains. If I were to add squadrons around each main starship, could I consider it an RPG then?


RPGs typically have a game master running the storyline, they are essentially story telling games, where the rules are used to help the game master determine interactions in a more neutral manner.

Boardgames usually do not require a game master, all players are competing, and all interactions are strictly defined by the rules, with no neutral judge/referee/game master required to interpret things or guide the storyline.

I would not consider unique character abilities enough to make something an RPG, those things can exist in board games too. I think what you are making sounds more like a board game, unless it indeed requires a judge to prepare a story in advance or some such thing.
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zorin_productions wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
If its competitive rather than co-op then definitly not an RPG.

Sounds more like what Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel had going with co-op, but each team trying to one up the rest. Or RuinsWorld with the players co-operating but also possibly hindering eachother.

It can be an annoying factor as some players prefer a game to be one or the other. Too much backstabbing and the game fails over and over potentially.


I guess I'm confused on what is considered RPG. If you look at Robotech, they have different mechs, etc. fighting against each other. While they have squadrons that work together, they are still competing against other squadrons. This is technically the same as my game, except I don't have squadrons, rather just single captains. If I were to add squadrons around each main starship, could I consider it an RPG then?


A good rule of thumb is to look at the rulebook: once you've split out the scenarios, ship designs, alien special powers, fleet generation rules and a complete history of the universe into five supplementary volumes, if the remaining core rules still need editing to be less than 200 pages, then you probably have an RPG...

Unless your movement rules have been condensed into 250 individually numbered paragraphs with a four level hierarchy, including rule 1.3.10.5: "pivoting using opposed thruster provides a -3 DRM to opponents firing using rule 4.3.6.7 or 4.3.6.8." Such is not a rule that will find a happy home in an RPG.

I'd suggest looking at The BGG definition for Variable Player Powers and if Eclipse, Cosmic Encounter or The Phantom League have anything of the same feel.
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Mike Strickland
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Postmark wrote:
zorin_productions wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
If its competitive rather than co-op then definitly not an RPG.

Sounds more like what Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel had going with co-op, but each team trying to one up the rest. Or RuinsWorld with the players co-operating but also possibly hindering eachother.

It can be an annoying factor as some players prefer a game to be one or the other. Too much backstabbing and the game fails over and over potentially.


I guess I'm confused on what is considered RPG. If you look at Robotech, they have different mechs, etc. fighting against each other. While they have squadrons that work together, they are still competing against other squadrons. This is technically the same as my game, except I don't have squadrons, rather just single captains. If I were to add squadrons around each main starship, could I consider it an RPG then?


A good rule of thumb is to look at the rulebook: once you've split out the scenarios, ship designs, alien special powers, fleet generation rules and a complete history of the universe into five supplementary volumes, if the remaining core rules still need editing to be less than 200 pages, then you probably have an RPG...

Unless your movement rules have been condensed into 250 individually numbered paragraphs with a four level hierarchy, including rule 1.3.10.5: "pivoting using opposed thruster provides a -3 DRM to opponents firing using rule 4.3.6.7 or 4.3.6.8." Such is not a rule that will find a happy home in an RPG.

I'd suggest looking at The BGG definition for Variable Player Powers and if Eclipse, Cosmic Encounter or The Phantom League have anything of the same feel.


That makes things a little clearer.. my game would definitely fit in the category of Variable Player Powers, which I'm assuming is different from RPG?

You guys have to excuse me because I'm a bit new to all the modern gaming terminologies, although I pick up things quick and have taken a newly found passion to board gaming. My dad created a board game back in 1988 which sold 1,000s of copies, and I've got a lot of graphic design under my belt, so I've recently begun to take interest in designing games, though I don't have as much experience in playing them. But like I said, I'm still learning here, so I appreciate the feedback and info.

Back to the RPG topic, since my game will not require a game master, does that automatically disqualify it from being an RPG? I can say that it will definitely not have 200 pages of rules, but I do already have 21 pages, and that just covers most of the basic things. It will probably end up being around 30-35 pages once I'm finished, and that doesn't include the story.

Once I start posting more information, and get near completion I will create a page for the game on here, and then I may ask for more feedback on how to classify the game. Again, thanks for all the feedback and keep it coming!
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Length of rules is not an indication of whether something is an RPG or not. Neither are variable player powers, etc.

RPG stands for "roleplaying game." The idea is very nebulous and can differ in definition depending upon who you ask, but here's my take on a generic description of an RPG.

And RPG is, first and foremost, about storytelling. That's the "role" part of "roleplaying." Players take on the roles of characters in the game in order to tell their characters' stories. The emphasis in an RPG is the story of the game.

I'll even say this, though this may be contested, that an RPG never has a "win condition." To me, that's really the definitive line between an RPG and a board game. You can't "win" at storytelling, so if there's some sort of win condition, it's not likely to be an RPG.

An RPG does not need to be cooperative, but 99% of the time is.

And RPG does not need a game master (dungeon master, story teller, keeper, whatever you want to call it), but 90% of the time it has one.

I'm not sure what Robotech game you're talking about, but it sounds more like a miniatures skirmish game than an RPG.
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Seems less like an Role Playing Adventure and more of a Space Exploration Adventure. Nothing against the game, sounds great. But an RPG is usually where you create your character and then do whatever you want.

The rest of the game sounds good. Sorry to say I'm not the best at evaluating other peoples games and game ideas.
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Jonathan Challis
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I concur that this is a board/minis game not an RPG.

Whilst you may have RPG elements in your head, I think many boardgamers will ignore them, but that is fine. In my head for instance what you have described is a game with different ships, and we each get a random card with special powers. Beyond that, the 'alien' just won't feature in the game for me... which is not a problem.
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Going on the core mechanic of 8 dudes that could be paired with 8 ships, think hard on how many different possible pairs that can be made, and decrease the number to 7 if it's too hard to balance properly.

Also how many people will be playing the game? Will it primarily be aimed at 1v1, or is a 4-player game? Or perhaps up to 8? And will it be played like miniatures with a ruler, or on a board?
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Mike Strickland
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jukujin wrote:
Length of rules is not an indication of whether something is an RPG or not. Neither are variable player powers, etc.

RPG stands for "roleplaying game." The idea is very nebulous and can differ in definition depending upon who you ask, but here's my take on a generic description of an RPG.

And RPG is, first and foremost, about storytelling. That's the "role" part of "roleplaying." Players take on the roles of characters in the game in order to tell their characters' stories. The emphasis in an RPG is the story of the game.

I'll even say this, though this may be contested, that an RPG never has a "win condition." To me, that's really the definitive line between an RPG and a board game. You can't "win" at storytelling, so if there's some sort of win condition, it's not likely to be an RPG.

An RPG does not need to be cooperative, but 99% of the time is.

And RPG does not need a game master (dungeon master, story teller, keeper, whatever you want to call it), but 90% of the time it has one.

I'm not sure what Robotech game you're talking about, but it sounds more like a miniatures skirmish game than an RPG.


That's a great explanation, definitely makes more sense now. I've been taking this role playing thing literally, and haven't really paid much attention to the official definition or anything. But it's much clearer now, and I'd agree with everyone on here that my game is not a true or traditional RPG. While it may have certain characteristics of an RPG, I will not entitle it as one. I think Variable Player Powers is more indicative of the type of game. Thanks again to everyone for clarifying that.
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ZephyrW wrote:
Going on the core mechanic of 8 dudes that could be paired with 8 ships, think hard on how many different possible pairs that can be made, and decrease the number to 7 if it's too hard to balance properly.

Also how many people will be playing the game? Will it primarily be aimed at 1v1, or is a 4-player game? Or perhaps up to 8? And will it be played like miniatures with a ruler, or on a board?


There will be 2-5 players, so they will be able to choose among 8 different characters/starships. I wanted at least 8 so there would be more of a variety. It won't be played like miniatures with a ruler, there will be a hex system, and each player will have a control board where they will keep track of points, etc. Mechanically speaking, the closest game I could compare it to would be Xia. There will be a ton of freedom to do many different things in the game, I want to keep restrictions to a minimum, as to add an element of unpredictability.
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Postmark wrote:
zorin_productions wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
If its competitive rather than co-op then definitly not an RPG.

Sounds more like what Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel had going with co-op, but each team trying to one up the rest. Or RuinsWorld with the players co-operating but also possibly hindering eachother.

It can be an annoying factor as some players prefer a game to be one or the other. Too much backstabbing and the game fails over and over potentially.


I guess I'm confused on what is considered RPG. If you look at Robotech, they have different mechs, etc. fighting against each other. While they have squadrons that work together, they are still competing against other squadrons. This is technically the same as my game, except I don't have squadrons, rather just single captains. If I were to add squadrons around each main starship, could I consider it an RPG then?


A good rule of thumb is to look at the rulebook: once you've split out the scenarios, ship designs, alien special powers, fleet generation rules and a complete history of the universe into five supplementary volumes, if the remaining core rules still need editing to be less than 200 pages, then you probably have an RPG...

Unless your movement rules have been condensed into 250 individually numbered paragraphs with a four level hierarchy, including rule 1.3.10.5: "pivoting using opposed thruster provides a -3 DRM to opponents firing using rule 4.3.6.7 or 4.3.6.8." Such is not a rule that will find a happy home in an RPG.

I'd suggest looking at The BGG definition for Variable Player Powers and if Eclipse, Cosmic Encounter or The Phantom League have anything of the same feel.


Except all of the above is totally bogus. Please dont misinform someone seeking valid advice on what an RPG is if you have absolutely no clue what one is. There are complete RPG rules contained within only a few pages of rules. What usually takes up the bulk are monster, magic, and equipment stats.

There are even RPGs boiled down to mere pages.

Back on topic.

As of last check Robotech, if it is the Palladium RPG was mostly squad level role playing in and out of the mecha. Lots of sneaking around, etc and lots of big battles. It did not originally have any wargame rules. Dont know if the new version does. No idea what all those minis are for really unless they tacked on a wargame.

What OP has sounds like a potentially robust space explorer or empire builder. Or possibly a space combat game with alliances and betrayals potential in it.

Keep working on it. There is ever an interest for some in a good explorer or empire game.
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I take issue with making a hard distinction between RPGs and board games. A board game can be an RPG. RPGs published as books and using paper to keep track of stats are the form with the longest history and most robust development to date, but that doesn't make pen-and-paper the exclusive form. RPGs exist on the computer and through board games as well. We can criticize how fully RPG board games to date have implemented the activities and feel of RPGs in other forms, but I see nothing about the medium of board games that makes better implementation impossible.
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Belthus wrote:
I take issue with making a hard distinction between RPGs and board games. A board game can be an RPG. RPGs published as books and using paper to keep track of stats are the form with the longest history and most robust development to date, but that doesn't make pen-and-paper the exclusive form. RPGs exist on the computer and through board games as well. We can criticize how fully RPG board games to date have implemented the activities and feel of RPGs in other forms, but I see nothing about the medium of board games that makes better implementation impossible.


"I have a character in this game" does not make it role playing.
"I can use this game to play pretend." does not make it role playing.

You are oversimplifying the term to the point it looses any maning. At that point Chess and Tic-Tac-Toe is an RPG. And there are people who have claimed exactly that.

Back on topic...again.

To the OP.
How big of a playing area are you thinking of?
1 to a few star systems?
A whole cluster?
The whole galaxy?

What is the scope? That can help determine some directions the design can take.
 
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Omega2064 wrote:
Belthus wrote:
I take issue with making a hard distinction between RPGs and board games. A board game can be an RPG. RPGs published as books and using paper to keep track of stats are the form with the longest history and most robust development to date, but that doesn't make pen-and-paper the exclusive form. RPGs exist on the computer and through board games as well. We can criticize how fully RPG board games to date have implemented the activities and feel of RPGs in other forms, but I see nothing about the medium of board games that makes better implementation impossible.


"I have a character in this game" does not make it role playing.
"I can use this game to play pretend." does not make it role playing.

You are oversimplifying the term to the point it looses any maning. At that point Chess and Tic-Tac-Toe is an RPG. And there are people who have claimed exactly that.

Back on topic...again.

To the OP.
How big of a playing area are you thinking of?
1 to a few star systems?
A whole cluster?
The whole galaxy?

What is the scope? That can help determine some directions the design can take.


There will be approximately 4 star systems, each having 2 planets. I'll be using a hex system, with roughly 8 or 9 hexes inside 1 large hex, altogether there will be 25 - 30 large hexes. They can be laid out any way. I am going to put a lot of emphasis on the design, colors, and overall look of the game, giving it somewhat of a brand image. When people see it, I want them to automatically recognize the game because of its distinct look and colors.

I've pretty much got 75% of the base of the design finished, now I'm just adding in all the details and things. I'll definitely post a link to the game page on this thread once I get near completion and create a page for it. I'll probably post some art before that though to get some concrete feedback on the design. Having a game that is done correctly, and based off feedback from this community is important to me. I am going to be making sure I get feedback every step of the way on this.

While this isn't my first game I've worked on, it is the first game that uses miniatures, characters, stories, and has completely different mechanics from the other 2 I helped design. My dad and I are the team behind our projects, and this new game is going to make a 180 degree turn from the other 2 we did. I seriously doubt anyone will even be able to recognize that the same 2 guys that designed the other 2 games designed this one. But again, since it will be so different I think it is critical that I receive feedback along the way, and I take your opinions seriously and appreciate all the advice.
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zorin_productions wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
Belthus wrote:
I take issue with making a hard distinction between RPGs and board games. A board game can be an RPG. RPGs published as books and using paper to keep track of stats are the form with the longest history and most robust development to date, but that doesn't make pen-and-paper the exclusive form. RPGs exist on the computer and through board games as well. We can criticize how fully RPG board games to date have implemented the activities and feel of RPGs in other forms, but I see nothing about the medium of board games that makes better implementation impossible.


"I have a character in this game" does not make it role playing.
"I can use this game to play pretend." does not make it role playing.

You are oversimplifying the term to the point it looses any maning. At that point Chess and Tic-Tac-Toe is an RPG. And there are people who have claimed exactly that.

Back on topic...again.

To the OP.
How big of a playing area are you thinking of?
1 to a few star systems?
A whole cluster?
The whole galaxy?

What is the scope? That can help determine some directions the design can take.


There will be approximately 4 star systems, each having 2 planets. I'll be using a hex system, with roughly 8 or 9 hexes inside 1 large hex, altogether there will be 25 - 30 large hexes. They can be laid out any way. I am going to put a lot of emphasis on the design, colors, and overall look of the game, giving it somewhat of a brand image. When people see it, I want them to automatically recognize the game because of its distinct look and colors.

I've pretty much got 75% of the base of the design finished, now I'm just adding in all the details and things. I'll definitely post a link to the game page on this thread once I get near completion and create a page for it. I'll probably post some art before that though to get some concrete feedback on the design. Having a game that is done correctly, and based off feedback from this community is important to me. I am going to be making sure I get feedback every step of the way on this.

While this isn't my first game I've worked on, it is the first game that uses miniatures, characters, stories, and has completely different mechanics from the other 2 I helped design. My dad and I are the team behind our projects, and this new game is going to make a 180 degree turn from the other 2 we did. I seriously doubt anyone will even be able to recognize that the same 2 guys that designed the other 2 games designed this one. But again, since it will be so different I think it is critical that I receive feedback along the way, and I take your opinions seriously and appreciate all the advice.



Sounds great to me! I am excited to see the final work.
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There are a few board games with different player abilities that feel a little like an RPG, because the abilities make the players use different strategies or game playing styles. If that is the feeling you want, you might want to watch a video on them, or read their instructions.

Lords of Waterdeep is set in a Dungeon and Dragons town, and each player gets a secret card that gives them a bonus at the end of the game. The players try to get this bonus, without letting others know. It feels like you are secretly trying to maneuver you boss into a position of power.

Eclipse gives different players a bonus or handicap in one of the six possible actions each player can take. Different actions are more valuable at different times, so the strategies change throughout the game. It's a little beurocratic which makes sense if you are a ruler, feels like you have you own goals.

In Chaos in the Old World, each of the five sides has 2-3 win conditions, and each condition has its own strategy. The game also has a lot of mature art that gives a feeling (many don't like) of greed, chaos, and selfishness, which fits the setting.

One of the classic sci-fi games, Cosmic Encounter, gives each player a special ability. The game involves negotiation, and knowing your opponent and their power, as well as getting others to help, feels a lot like a galactic senate.

And a similar game is Tammany Hall. This is interesting because the top player assigns roles to other players, and has to make deals and break promises. Even being a "board game," it really puts people into the character of 19th century politics.

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fur94 wrote:
There are a few board games with different player abilities that feel a little like an RPG, because the abilities make the players use different strategies or game playing styles. If that is the feeling you want, you might want to watch a video on them, or read their instructions.

Lords of Waterdeep is set in a Dungeon and Dragons town, and each player gets a secret card that gives them a bonus at the end of the game. The players try to get this bonus, without letting others know. It feels like you are secretly trying to maneuver you boss into a position of power.

Eclipse gives different players a bonus or handicap in one of the six possible actions each player can take. Different actions are more valuable at different times, so the strategies change throughout the game. It's a little beurocratic which makes sense if you are a ruler, feels like you have you own goals.

In Chaos in the Old World, each of the five sides has 2-3 win conditions, and each condition has its own strategy. The game also has a lot of mature art that gives a feeling (many don't like) of greed, chaos, and selfishness, which fits the setting.

One of the classic sci-fi games, Cosmic Encounter, gives each player a special ability. The game involves negotiation, and knowing your opponent and their power, as well as getting others to help, feels a lot like a galactic senate.

And a similar game is Tammany Hall. This is interesting because the top player assigns roles to other players, and has to make deals and break promises. Even being a "board game," it really puts people into the character of 19th century politics.



Thanks Andrew, I'd have to say that my game has some very similar characteristics of Cosmic Encounter. Each character and starship will have special abilities, as well as advantages and disadvantages in certain situations. I think I'm just going to categorize it as variable player powers and if anyone considers it RPG that is just icing on the cake. I am also going to send it to various board game reviewers once it's finished and ultimately let them decide whether it's RPG or VPP. I think having someone prominent in the gaming community like Tom Vasel categorize it would hopefully eliminate any second guessing on what kind of game it is.







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Mike Strickland
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Fort Myers
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Here is the link to my official first introductory post regarding this game, in case anyone is interested or wants to track it's development.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1088434/wip-astrolysium-...
 
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